Thursday, January 10, 2013

Great TRAINing!

In approximately five weeks, I'll take a shot at one of my 2013 New Years Goals!  I'll attempt to complete The Great Train Race across Barbados.  Technically, not a race but a run.  Yes, it's a small island but running 25 miles on muddy old cart roads and rocky beach erosion is no easy feat.  And then there's the final stage - 5k of pavement without an ounce of shade at 10:00 a.m. - can you say heat?

The run is broken into 8 stages, which approximate the locations of the old train stops.  The train ran from the late 1800's to the mid 1930s and transported people and sugar cane from the capital city of Bridgetown, across the fertile plantations of the St. George valley, through the "country" of St. Philip, to the rugged east coast & up to the town of Belleplaine.  You can read more about the history of the train here if you're interested.  Quite cool.

The Route
This year, the Barbados National Trust hikers have teamed up with the Ufukuzo running group to provide aid stations at all 8 station locations.  Lord knows I love a good crew but at least my friends don't have to drive across country with my DeltaE, bean burritos and granola bars.   I'm still going to beg for a little support toward the last stages but for the most part, they get to sleep in!

We started training runs last Sunday so that the runners can have a chance to see all 8 legs of the run ahead of the big day.  At the 2012 race, I ran sections 3,4 and 5 but pooped out when we hit the east coast and the trail disintegrated into a beach full of huge rocks.  I just stood there and watched the other runners go...  My ankles were not conditioned for that kind of running.  They still aren't!

Where I crapped out last year...
And that's why this is a New Years Goal.  I'm not conditioned for this.  I can absolutely run 25 miles and I believe trail runners when they tell me that the miles don't hurt as much on a trail BUT if you listen hard enough, you can hear my ankles laughing at me.  Muuwwahahahaha.

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to run the majority of the coastal portion of the trail.  My friend who was visiting from California came out with the group.  He has over 170 ultra-marathons under his belt.  Yes, 170.  When we completed the measley 8K from Bath to Cattlewash, I looked at him expectantly "Well, what do you think?"  He said, "Lauren, I'm used to trail running.  Don't fool yourself - this was bushwhacking!"  Apparently, it's not considered a "trail" if you're enveloped in bushes up to your armpits a mere 12 inches away from a 20 foot drop into the ocean?  Hmmm.  Good to note.

This Sunday we'll cover terrain I ran last year but I believe that every km of trail I can get under my ankles is GOOD.  Of course, I've ordered trail shoes.  New shoes rank right below a good crew!

Honestly, if they told me there were specially made shoes to get to the bathroom in the morning, I'd buy them.  I'm a shoe suckah!
Here they are!  New Balance 1110
If you have any interest in running, jogging, walking or strolling all or part of The Great Train Race, check out the 2013 Facebook page here.  It's a beautiful day in a beautiful country.  I guarantee you'll see things you've never seen before!


  1. This is going to be SO AWESOME! Not many people can say they've run across an island. No crapping out! Here's to ankles of steele and a beautiful day! Can't wait for pictures.

    1. Ang! I'm super excited! ALMOST a marathon :) I feel like I can do almost anything on the day but the training is all part of the fun! Right? :) The shoes came in the mail and I ran on the road with them this morning for about 8K. So far so good but they're much narrower and less flexible than my regular NB890. Hopefully that means a whole ton of stabilization! I'll keep you in the loop :) Big Hug, L

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  3. Good Luck. that sounds like a real challenge!

    1. Patrick! You've got a year left to make it down here to surf Soup Bowls! You're always welcome :) L